When you open Connections — a new Times game — you often need to fight your initial instincts. It’s a game in which a little patience can go a long way.
We’re devoting today’s newsletter to an explanation of Connections because we frequently hear from Morning readers who tell us that they enjoy quick daily games and are eager to try new ones. We now have one for you to consider.
Each day’s Connections puzzle shows 16 terms — as in the example above, published last week — and your job is to split the 16 into four sets of four. Each set of four is part of a recognizable category of objects, descriptions, phrases or something else. Imagine, say, four colors or four exclamations of joy. If you have played the board game Codenames, this idea will be familiar.
But Connections often comes with a twist, and the puzzle above is a good example. It includes six state names, not four:
How are you supposed to decide which four to put in a “states” category and which two belong in a different category?
Answering that question is a big part of the game’s challenge and fun. On most days, you will notice one obvious potential category that includes more than four items, like the state names in this puzzle. Your job is then to figure out which of those items can also fit into a different category. Each day’s puzzle has only one possible solution.
Spoiler alert: I’m about to give you the answers to this particular puzzle, so feel free to pause here if you’d rather solve it on our own.
When I’m playing Connections, usually with my wife, we often ignore the category that has more than four items in it and start elsewhere. Specifically, we focus on one of the more unusual terms and try to think which categories it could plausibly fit in. In this case, we thought about genesis.
It’s a book in the Bible, of course, but we didn’t see any other Bible terms in the grid. We tried to think of common phrases that used the word but couldn’t. We did think of the rock band Genesis — and then noticed the names of two other rock bands, yes and rush. As we went looking for a fourth, I had a vague sense that kansas might also have been a band even if I couldn’t remember any of its songs. (Sorry, Kansas fans.)
From there, the solution came together. My wife noticed the names of four soda brands, and we thought that we noticed the last names of four characters named Tony from popular culture. (We were wrong in a way about hawk: Tony Hawk is a nonfictional skateboarder, but Connections accepts correct answers even if the reasoning is flawed.) One of the four was Tony Montana from “Scarface.”
At that point, we were down to only four state names, and we had the puzzle solved:
After a few weeks of playing Connections, I appreciate the level of difficulty. My wife and I can solve the puzzle with a little work on most days, but not always. After four incorrect guesses, Connections announces that you’ve lost and shows you the solutions.
Starting today, The Morning will include a link to Connections every day. As always, we welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
War in Ukraine
Russian officials confirmed the death of the mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, citing genetic analysis of remains.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, made sympathetic remarks about Vladimir Putin and insisted Russia and France “need each other.”
Here’s a column by Maureen Dowd on Trump’s mug shot.
The Sunday question: Did Ron DeSantis perform well at the Republican presidential debate?
“DeSantis stood at center stage, but he didn’t stand tall,” The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board writes, noting that he dodged questions and avoided responding to attacks from other candidates. But despite some disappointing answers, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board writes, he made a case for his record in Florida, with “greatest hits” like handling Covid and fighting progressive prosecutors.
Health: Menopause is different for women of color.
Meerkat on a scale: The London Zoo weighed its animals.
Vows: They spent months emailing before going on a date.
Lives Lived: David LaFlamme was the founder of the San Francisco band It’s a Beautiful Day, and at the center, if not in the forefront, of the Haight-Ashbury acid-rock explosion. He died at 82.
TALK | FROM THE TIMES MAGAZINE
For more than 50 years, the philosopher and best-selling author Daniel Dennett has been in the thick of some of humankind’s most meaningful arguments. I spoke to him ahead of the publication of his memoir, “I’ve Been Thinking.”
What’s the most valuable contribution philosophers could be making given the state of the world?
Well, let’s look at epistemology, the theory of knowledge. Eric Horvitz, the chief scientist at Microsoft, talks about a “post-epistemic” world. That phrase, the mere fact that he could utter it, is extremely frightening. The presence of agreed-upon sources of common knowledge is something we’ve taken for granted for a long time and can no longer take for granted. We have to work to try to restore it.
By highlighting the conditions under which knowledge is possible. Andrew Wiles proved Fermat’s last theorem. Why do we know that he did it? Don’t ask me to explain complex mathematics. What convinces me that he proved it is that the community of mathematicians put it under scrutiny and said, “Yep, he’s got it.” That model is the key to knowledge.
How do we decide which truths we should treat as objective and which we treat as subjective?
The idea of “my truth” is second-rate. The recommended response is, “We’d like to bring you into the conversation but if you’re unable to consider arguments for and against your position, then we’ll consider you on the sidelines.”
The title of the book is “I’ve Been Thinking,” but don’t your feelings affect the philosophical ideas you pursue?
Oh, absolutely! Your laptop has an operating system. In your brain, there’s no operating system in that sense — it’s all the turmoil of emotions. Happily, we have learned how to harness those emotions.
Read more of the interview here.
More from the magazine
Reading and faith: What can literature teach us about forgiveness?
Our editors’ picks: “Tom Lake,” Ann Patchett’s new novel about a former actress whose long-ago summer fling went on to become a movie star, and eight other books.
Times best sellers: “American Prometheus,” an inspiration for the film “Oppenheimer,” is No. 1 for a fifth time on the paperback nonfiction list.
THE MORNING RECOMMENDS …
Stream one of these offbeat movies (and project them on an outdoor screen).
Bring a good toiletry kit on your next trip.
Look at Indigenous art.
THE WEEK AHEAD
What to Watch For
The U.S. Open, tennis’s final major tournament of the year, begins tomorrow.
The Biden administration is expected to announce its first 10 drugs selected for Medicare price negotiations on Tuesday, before the stock market opens.
A tropical storm system is forecast to move toward Florida starting Tuesday.
Pope Francis will visit Mongolia, a majority-Buddhist country with one of the smallest Catholic communities in the world, on Thursday.
Monthly U.S. employment numbers will be released on Friday.